The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Tuesday demanded for hazard allowance its staff who play critical roles in the regulation of drugs and foods in the country.
Prof. Moji Adeyeye, NAFDAC Director-General, made the demand at a news conference in Abuja while giving her stewardship in office in the last four years.
She said that the allowance became necessary following the threat some of the staff go through while discharging their duties.The director-general stated that a lot of restructuring had happened in the agency to strengthen its workforce and reposition it to enable it carry out its mandate effectively.
Adeyeye disclosed that with the efforts the agency was putting up in the regulation of COVID-19 vaccine, Nigeria would be able to manufacture her own COVID-19 vaccine come 2022.“I met an agency whose regulatory activities were at the lowest ebb, staff morale was low, glaring cases of indiscipline and labour union strikes as well as general lack of administrative focus and direction.
“I knew the regulatory framework was weak and therefore needed systemic overhauling. I quickly realised that it will take putting in place seven international building blocks that are based on World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.
“For strong regulatory framework, a quality system approach or template must be in place that places premium on the customer. Therefore, we decided to adopt an agency-wide quality management system (ISO 9001) that took the entire staff through training.
“We have been working towards attaining maturity level three to enable Nigeria to strengthen our systems and to enable Nigeria manufacture vaccines,” she said.She said that the WHO officials were in the country to audit the agency activities and were glad about what they saw on ground, adding that the basis for their satisfaction was on the different building blocks NAFDAC put in place.
Adeyeye said that the agency had restructured and expanded in structure from 13 directorates to 18 directorates across the country including the FCT, adding that five newly created directorates are laboratory services.
She added that 40 utility vehicles vital to the operation of the agency had been purchased, while another 73 vehicles were undergoing process by the agency, saying some of them would be used for state operations.
She said that the agency had revamped its information communication technology, and that there had been an improvement in the communication system between the agency and the public.
The director-general said that the agency had been proactive and vigilant in its investigation, enforcement, posts inspection and pharmaco-vigilance activities in the area of food safety, applied nutrition, narcotics and control substance.
She disclosed that the agency had deployed multifaceted strategies in its efforts to combat substandard, falsified, illicit drugs and chemicals.
Adeyeye said that the agency had established a traceability office and a technical working group to drive the activities in its five years implementation plan, adding that NAFDAC was now using traceability to monitor distribution of vaccines across the country. (NAN)